It’s likely the one single thing that leads most parents to plan for the future is their children. No one likes to think about death. However, if you have minor children, it is crucial to do some estate planning for those unforeseen events that occasionally happen. Primarily, who will care for the children when you are no longer here? Yes, it’s usually the other parent, in most cases, but what happens when there is no other parent?
Who will make the decisions?
Having a will spells out many things, one of which indicates who will care for the children when the parents can’t. In legal terms, parents must indicate who will have the decision-making responsibility for their kids (a term which used to called custody). Parents can name one or more people for this very important task – an individual or individuals who will listen to the parents when they express their desires about how they would like their children brought up and how they would like assets left to them to be used in their best interests. Having a will lets parents name someone they trust to care for their kids for up to 90 days after they die. After those days have passed and the individual wants to continue to care for the children, they must go to court to ask for decision-making responsibility.
Setting up a trust
An estate plan could include a trust set up for minor children. A trust spells out particulars like how and when minor children should inherit assets. A chosen trustee manages the trust as per the grantor’s wishes. For instance, parents could opt to give their children an inheritance gradually over time or in one lump sum.
A lawyer may be able to help further clarify how estate planning can benefit parents with young children. They could also explain the choices parents have when making decisions about their children’s futures – for example, speaking to the special circumstances of an adult child with a disability. Receiving legal advice from an experienced source during the estate planning process could go a long way toward ensuring a comprehensive estate plan.